The Painted Garden
The Painted Garden was a show about how I came to terms with disability and make a personal and creative change of direction.
It started in 2014 when my wife Jane and I moved to Shammer House, a typical Georgian farmhouse set in the North Norfolk countryside.
As a landscape painter, I intended to paint its far reaching views and capture the weather and unique light of our county. Instead I found myself drawn inexorably to the garden, which surrounds the house, enclosing mature planting and cutting beds within a mellow Norfolk Red brick wall.
It’s a far cry from the corporation planting of the council estate where I grew up in East Lancashire and at first I just went with my impulse to paint it as a preparatory exercise before creating some ‘proper’ landscapes.
The garden is life writ large, irreverent, joyous, irrepressible and independent, and I came to see and celebrate it in those terms. Months passed and with each seasonal change in the garden my compulsion to observe and paint it grew stronger, as my interest in painting the views from it waned.
By autumn 2014, my studio was alive with oil sketches of the garden and I had to concede that my ambitious landscape project was dead. Sometimes the subject chooses you.
From The Painted Garden Catalogue